Zekes are worm-like, territorial, mutated beings that live in the fields in the Agricultural Areas and are introduced in Hunger. They killed E.Z. after he wandered into their territory while attempting to pick some cabbages. The zekes are 1–2 meters in length and have thousands of small legs. Their teeth are razor-sharp and when they consume their victims they leave behind nothing but a pile of bones.
Astrid noticed that when Sam burned the fields to get rid of the zekes, they all turned towards him with grins on their faces. As the zekes have no eyes, Astrid hypothesized that they are controlled by a single zeke, which, in turn, could be controlled by the Gaiaphage. Astrid also noted that the zekes had advanced enough brains to be territorial, which is rare for insects. Blue bats were often used as distractions for the zekes, giving kids enough time to run into the fields and pick a few cabbages.
Orc is immune to the zekes, due to his mutation, though the zekes could kill him if they were to bite into the human part of his face.
The name "zeke" may be short for "E.Z. killer" and was coined by Howard, saying “Look, bottom line, you step into a field full of these E.Z. killers, these zekes, and you’re dead. Right?” Before "zekes", they were called E.Z. killers or simply worms.